The Challenges and Advantages of my Plant Based Diet Project

Today is a tired day. I’ve been tracking my food and progress for about a week and a half now, and I’ve found good and bad. Because I am a ‘lister’, I made a Pro/Con list. Of course I’m still testing this diet to see if it’s good for me and my body type, and sometimes listing the good and bad can help me keep perspective.

Challenges:

  • Detox/Withdrawal. I’m fighting dizziness and headaches daily for the past three days. Could be a hormonal thing, but I am also recognizing the symptoms of withdrawal like I had before with my South Beach Diet. Luckily, it lasted two weeks, so maybe this will be short-lived as well.
  • Eating Enough Calories. I am eating a lot more during the day and I am always hungry. Sometimes I wake up at 4 am to make a bowl of cereal to hold me over until I wake up at 8. I am not trying to count calories for a diet standpoint, but, I am having a hard time going past 1300. I think as I learn how to eat this will even out, and I think, at least for now, I’ll hold off on my heavy workouts, and keep things low impact.
  • Need to think before I eat. This actually isn’t horrible. Thinking before eating is pretty wise…whether you do plant-based or not. But it is inconvenient. Until I learn more things to eat, especially snack wise, I need to plan. Also, I need to always carry a snack in my purse, because, I AM ALWAYS HUNGRY!
  • Potlucks. We meet at community group once a week, and everyone brings a dish. Now I see how my husband fared. It’s hard! Last week was Mexican themed, and the taco salad, chicken enchiladas, and everything looked and smelled so good! I ate my overly spiced rice and salad and was content, but that cheesy goodness was tempting.
  • Chocolate. It’s not vegan. And the kind that is, is expensive. And I’m cheap, I mean ‘frugal’. 🙂

I can’t list my complaints without listing the advantages. The ‘why’ of my project. So here they are:

Advantages:

  • Financial. So far, it’s been easy on my wallet. And altho my shopping trips are more frequent (with fresh produce), I buy less at my shopping trips, so it’s an easy errand.
  • Sweet Tooth. I love that my sweet tooth is gearing away from the processed junk I ate before, and is more geared towards fruit. Today I woke up from a nap and immediately wanted a smoothie! And speaking of smoothies…
  • I have NO guilt making homemade smoothies or eating potatoes on a daily basis. Those were foods that I’d given up before, because they were ’empty calories’, ‘carbs’, and ‘sugary’. Now I don’t make a giant smoothie, and I only use 100% juice and frozen fruit. I still do things in moderation, but it’s nice to have that freedom.
  • Coffee?? Yes, I still love my morning and afternoon java. But I don’t need it immediately after I wake up. I can eat first (and have done so). Then I have a relaxing cup of coffee while schooling Liam. This is nice; I’m no longer a zombie. (Note that if I have taken Nyquil the night before, then yes, I am still a zombie in the morning! That’s about it tho!)
  • PMS and Period Benefits. Ever since I had my tubes tied, I’ve had horrible periods, where I can’t go anywhere or do anything for two days. Without getting into too much detail, it’s not too bad this time. Apparently, a test was done on 33 women who suffer painful periods. They put them on a plant-based whole food diet for two cycles. They saw significant reduction in menstrual pain intensity and duration, and their periods were shorter. Also, because of the fiber, their bloating wasn’t as bad. (www.nutritionfacts.org/2014/04/17/treating-menstrual-pain-with-diet/)
  • Easier to stay in my calorie goal for the day. I had noticed before I was always mentally calculating how much I ate and, lately, was disappointed in how much I had eaten calorie wise and that I had to stop. Or I’d just continue to eat and ‘do better tomorrow’ (and I said the same thing the next day! Ha ha!!) Now I don’t feel the pressure to count calories, except to ensure that I’m eating enough.
  • More energy. Despite my headache/dizziness from the withdrawal, I do have more energy. I feel more productive, and clear-headed throughout the day. I expect this to increase as the detox symptoms subside.
  • Additives, Growth Hormones, Cholesterol, and Ethics. Not in a ‘tree hugger’ way, but I’m glad that I can find alternative ways to eat and enjoy food. Note my kids are still carnivores and I don’t beat anyone up who eats meat! As for cholesterol, meat is the only food that has it; plants do not. Also, by cutting out dairy, I’ve cut out the extra hormones that are in store-bought milk. So I feel like I’m eating cleaner.

All in all, the challenges I’m facing a week and a half in are temporary. As I learn how to do this diet, what to eat, what to avoid, how much to eat…those things should fade. The advantages I’m seeing are far outweighing the slight inconvenience I’m experiencing now. And I’m finding so many healthy recipes online! I’m actually having fun trying new things! (What? I’m having FUN cooking?? But I HATE to cook!!!)

Tomorrow I’m posting a recipe I tried last night. It’s delicious and super frugal and healthy. It will probably be a staple in my house! And, even for my meat-loving friends, if you ever did a “Meatless Monday” dinner theme, or are entertaining vegetarian or vegan friends, this is a cheap go-to meal! Trust me, the first time I had my vegetarian sister and her husband over for dinner, (years ago) I wanted to make them a meal that they would enjoy. I knew tofu was an alternate for meat for vegetarians, so I made them tofu, and it was horrible! This is much cheaper, and yummier!

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